Friday, January 13, 2012

a different kind of army life

Kelly of Kelly's Korner is doing a link-up today for military families, and I thought it might be interesting to share our story. My husband Richard is an Army officer and a general surgery resident at Walter Reed, now in Bethesda. His father served in the Army (as did both of my parents), and though Richard wasn't involved in ROTC while completing his undergraduate degree at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, he decided to pursue a military scholarship for medical school. He finished medical school in Charleston, SC, then began his surgical residency at Walter Reed, where he is currently in year 5 of 6. We got married at the beginning of his 4th year, and I left SC, where we both grew up, to join him in Washington, DC.

I know our military experience is a little different than other active duty military families. Because Richard is still in training, he will likely not be deployed until he finishes his residency next summer. We don't live on base, and we lead fairly normal lives (despite him taking in-house call every third night!). He wore a tuxedo on our wedding day, and his hair is probably a little longer than it's supposed to be. I do shop at the on-base commissary, and when I am there, and at Walter Reed, I see military families who have sacrificed SO much more than we have. Many of Richard's patients have lost limbs or have been through other severe trauma. They are ones who are actually on the front lines, who face deployments for years at a time away from their families. It only seems appropriate that Richard and others seek to give them the absolute best medical care possible.

Working at Walter Reed does have its perks- Richard has met several celebrities who come in to cheer up or perform for the wounded warriors. The First Lady and President Obama have both come to visit, and high-ranking government officials often come to the hospital to both visit and for treatment.

Once Richard finishes he residency, it remains to be seen where we will go next. He'll stay in the Army for at least four more years, and there's a good chance that a portion of that time will be overseas. I work on Capitol Hill for a member of Congress, so I'll have to find a new job when we move. That uncertainty is probably one of the most stressful parts of military life! But we are excited to see where God leads us.

We have been so blessed by the friends we've made through Walter Reed- medical residents from all over the country. The Army has provided Richard with wonderful training and unique experiences that he would not have had in a civilian residency. Though I miss my home state, I am thankful for our life in the DC area and am so proud of my husband and others who serve.

Richard at Officer's Basic in San Antonio, TX- summer 2004- my two-shower-a-day husband had a hard time spending 5 days in a tent without one!

completely posed shot after a simulation, again in San Antonio- Richard on left

sweet Walter Reed friends who came all the way to SC from DC for our wedding- combination of general surgery, internal medicine, and orthopedic surgery residents

1 comment:

  1. Hi Beth! Just stopping by from Kelly's military link up! I wanted to say hi because my husband went to MUSC for dental school and is now a Dentist in the Navy. We just finished an out-service residency for 3 years where my hubby let his hair grow "out of regulation" too! ;) Where did you go to school? We're both originally from Beaufort. I went to Clemson and my husband went to USC. Changing jobs every few years is DEFINITELY hard on the military spouse, and one of the reasons I'm now a stay-at-home mom right now. I wish y'all the best of luck, and look forward to following your journey! Nice to meet you!